Small Space, Big Ideas

Pink terrazzo, Art Deco-esque arches and bold colour choices are the cornerstones of this eclectic, functional, yet small cottage extension. The design work of Adelaide’s Sans-Arc Studio, we chat to studio director, Matiya Maravich about the inspirations behind this 2020 Dulux Colour Awards finalist design.

What/who were your design inspirations for this home?

We drew upon the clients’ love of art deco and  P+O architecture. We wanted to give the addition an earthy, adobe feeling – grounded but fun. We also had to display their glass and pottery collection. We drew upon the bold colours of these as a basis for the colour in the space.

How important is the colour selection when working with a small space? What tricks/tips do you have for enlarging a space using colour?

White ceilings (and high ceilings) are good to make a small space feel big. Colour blocking can help reduce busy looking spaces by blending items into one continuous area. We’ve used colour blocking in this project to delineate between areas and highlight the different forms against each other. Balancing colour is also very important, some dark can be good, but generally if you want to make a space feel big when it isn’t, then use light colours.

What are some of the most common challenges people face when deciding to DIY design?

I think it is easy for people to get caught in short-term trends because they don’t want to be boring. There is nothing wrong with clean, simple materials that feel good. Using timber where you can and with whites, greys and timeless colours is a good place to start. Taking big design risks or doing something that ‘looks funky’ can be dangerous without a good design eye or the right advice. I think we tend to be onto the next cool thing really quickly without investigating or doing one style of design really well. If you want to go industrial with your home-reno, then go full on, or if you want something timeless, buy the best materials and design you can afford.

What’s your favourite designer trend for 2020?

I’m enjoying the new Italian design trend through graphics, architecture and interiors. I love Italian Futurism and the radical design movement so it is nice seeing this stuff re-emerge. 

Stylist Jono Fleming’s Living Room Transformation

A pop of colour on white walls is an easy, inexpensive way to transform a space. Interior stylist Jono Fleming’s family farmhouse originally had white walls – the idea was to use them as a blank canvas to showcase the grand stone fireplace, cathedral pitched ceiling and exposed timber beams. But in a room so big, the space felt cold and sterile, despite the textural furnishings introduced to try and soften the space. 

The solution? Jono introduced a classic navy hue to transform this hub of the home. “By painting the wall I’ve entirely changed the feeling of the space and demarcated living zones, in what was once an expansive open plan room,” he says.

How to achieve the look

“It’s all about small steps when it comes to using colour throughout the home,’ says Jono. “I recommend starting with the main colour you’d like to introduce and build out from there.” 

“I used the dark kitchen and red Persian rugs that had deep blue patterning as my starting point for building the palette. Blue hues are fantastic to use in living areas – they provide a feeling of comfort and understated elegance, plus there are endless colour pairings. Painting an entire wall navy might seem like a big jump from white, but when the rest of the decor and furniture are complementary the colour is considered.”

“When putting final touches to the space, I chose an abstract artwork filled with deep blues, blacks and greys, which tonally works with the wall colour, the navy in the Persian rugs and polished concrete floors. To add some drama, we used natural ceramics and an abundance of luscious greenery.”

Jono’s tips when using colour

Start with a rug or artwork. Take your colour cues from a key painting or rug to give your room’s scheme an intentional feel – work within this palette. Also, choose colours you love and that are liveable to you!

Open plan spaces can be ‘zoned’ using colour; consider which wall will help ground and delineate the space.

There are endless colour combinations with navy. Jono paired Porter’s Paints Yacht Race with red, sage greens, polished concrete, white and blonde timber, although he says it would have also worked beautifully with ochre and mustard tones.

Always start using sample pots, painting large swatches in designated areas so you can live with the colour for a few days and see how it performs under changing light conditions.

Jono used Porter’s Paints Yacht Race from the new Capsule Collection.